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Wu van Art about that moment: “I felt ashamed.”

Wu van Art about that moment: “I felt ashamed.”

Wout van Aert is not on the start today at Strade Bianche, a race that particularly suits him. In 2018 and 2019, he already finished third, and in 2020, the Kempen compatriot took the top spot on the podium.

In fact, it's Van Art's first real major triumph in a classic film, and thus an unforgettable moment. Unfortunately for him, he tripped during the final ascent of the Santa Caterina Trail in 2018. Van Aert tells his story again about that moment to HLN. He sums up: “I was completely dead, but I still flew up the slope at full speed, until I had cramps in my legs halfway through.”

“If I stood up straight on the pedals I would fall from the cramps, so I had to stay on the saddle. The problem is that the climb always gets steeper, and before reaching the top I was riding so slowly that I had to get out of the saddle to exert enough force on the pedals.” Cramps were affecting my legs from all sides.

Feeling unjustified ashamed

These were private photos, but they weren't embarrassing at all. Especially since Van Aart suddenly made it to the final seemingly out of nowhere. And after. “I was ashamed. I'd never seen anyone climb a cliff on foot in a road race. When I crossed the line, I knew: Damn, this is going to be something.”

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But it initially turned out not to be the case. “To my surprise, I didn't receive any questions about it. I thought: Maybe it wasn't visible and I could still get away with it. So after the podium I headed towards the team bus feeling happy.” However, this relief was premature.

“But when I opened the bus door, all my teammates started screaming. “Shortly after that I turned on my smartphone and watched all kinds of videos of fans recording my fall… You finished third in your first race at Strade Bianche and yet Van laughed.” “Art”.